January 2015
Billie Silvey
As a part of a family and a church in the
community, I feel drawn to community service,
specifically to serving the homeless.

Homelessness has been an important issue
to me since I first came to Los Angeles.  It is
one of the major problems in our city, and I’ve
worked with two different congregations here
to help address it.

At the
Vermont Avenue Church, where I
worshipped before coming to Culver Palms,
we used to make sack lunches and take
them downtown to distribute to the homeless

Now, the city has cracked down on handing
out food that’s been touched by peoples’
hands.  So the Culver Palms Church
distributes bags of packaged food to
homeless people.

Los Angeles is one of the most difficult
places I’ve found for a sense of community to
flourish.  When we moved into the Palms
area, I helped found the Neighborhood
Council, a volunteer group of residents that
represent our community to the City of Los

This year, when the city held its biennial
Homeless Count, the church worked with the
Neighborhood Council, volunteers from
AmeriCorps and other local residents.
Many came to me after the count, impressed
by the spirit of the event.

“We want to keep getting together,” they said,
“around the issue of homelessness.  And we
want to meet at the Culver Palms Church of
Christ.”  I was thrilled, and when I told one of
our elders, he charged me to try to discover
just what services are available in the area.  

As a result, we’re hosting a Homeless
Resources Fair March 7.  We've invited public
and private agencies that serve the
homeless to staff tables at the church
building.  There they can tell people who are
interested in helping the homeless about the
services they provide.  They can even sign up
any homeless people who attend to receive
those services.  

I envision a series of tables with agency
people representing the steps a person can
take moving from homelessness to having a
home.  For instance, the first might be the
county's 211 emergency number, then an
agency to address substance abuse or
mental health, food providers, clothing
providers, temporary shelters, etc.

Again, the church and the Neighborhood
Council and AmeriCorps volunteers and
others are working together to put on the
Fair.  Again, our minister has agreed to make
the coffee.  

Darrian, the single mom who recently used
the available resources to find a home for
herself and her son, is among the group of
Culver Palms members who are helping  
plan the event.  

Community and service—these are among
the values that have guided my life, added
depth and richness to it, and have drawn
friends and family to work together, bringing
satisfaction and a sense of worth to my life
as I’ve been able to share my vision of
people working together in community to
tackle the problems of our world.
The Next Step